With a collective sigh of relief from both employers and employment law practitioners the Employment Act 2008 (the Act), which will repeal the highly criticised Statutory Dispute Resolution Procedures, received Royal Assent on 13 November 2008. The provisions of the Act relating to the repeal of the statutory procedures are expected to come into force in April 2009.

The Act will put in place new measures to encourage the early resolution of workplace disputes. One of these measures is to allow tribunals to have regard to the new ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance when deciding the majority of employment claims. The code is soon to be placed before Parliament and, if approved, will also come into force in April 2009. If a party unreasonably fails to follow the code then tribunals will be able to adjust the amount of any compensatory award made by up to 25 per cent.